I heard the news today that Leonard Nimoy had died. I’ve always been a big fan of Spock. He was my favorite Star Trek character. Was lucky enough to see him at comicon. Because of that, I looked into the man behind the character. What I found was even more fascinating. He was poet, a singer, a fan of literature, and art of all kinds. His interest made him a Renaissance man in the true sense of the term. What surprised me though, was the depth of sadness I felt after hearing of his passing. I have spent the last few hours crying on and off. I realize that’s silly. I didn’t know the man personally. We weren’t friends. Yet, I feel like the world lost something important today–someone important. The character he played represented so much more than what was gleaned from the movies and television shows. In many ways, he represented the ideal future. He was what we hoped we’d be if given the chance to travel to the stars. I love that his last tweet was poetic and ended with Live Long and Prosper. I think that was rather fitting for the man and the iconic character he created through the writing of Gene Roddenberry. I’ll miss you, Mr. Nimoy. Goodbye Mr. Spock.
I didn’t know a lot about Paddington bear, when I went to see the movie last night. It wasn’t part of my childhood. But my significant other is from Scotland and Paddington was a big part of his growing up. So I went into the movie with no clue what to expect. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. The story was rich, heart-felt, and thoroughly entertaining. The most interesting thing was that the CGI was so good that after a few minutes you forgot you were watching a partially animated film. You just simply got swept away by the story. The way they gave a nod to the author in the movie was utterly charming. Sigh. We plan to go see it again. If you have kids, I cannot recommend this film enough. If you’re a kid at heart (like we are), GO! GO! GO! You will not be disappointed. Heads up to all the Whovians out there, the Doctor is in the film.
It was hard to decide what book three of the Goodreads reading challenge should be. I flitted around like a moth in a light shop. I finally settled on the Night Shift anthology. I’m currently reading Lisa Shearin‘s story…now that I’ve read Ilona Andrews‘ story TWICE. Yes, I loved it that much. I know I’m skipping around. I am a Nalini Singh fan. She’s terrific, but I’m a mega-fangirl to Ilona’s work. Love, Love, LOVE IT!!! Anyway, so far, I think Lisa’s story is very funny. I like the sense of humor. A LOT! I’ve never read anything by her. I’m embarrassed to admit that I’d never even heard of her, so I’m grateful to get this introduction to her work. (Correction: I looked her up and saw that I did recognize some of her book covers, but I didn’t recognize the name.) I’ll eventually read the whole thing, then I will only have 52 books to go. Woo Hoo!
Lately I’ve been keeping my head down, working on craft, and trying to finish a horror short story. (Mission accomplished on the last part.) Whether it will see the light of day is anyone’s guess, but I did my best. Anyhoo, that’s not what I wanted to talk about. On a couple of lists I belong to, there’s been a lot of conversations about indie authors versus traditionally published authors. Since I’m both, I don’t tend to join in. I can understand the excitement that comes from indie publishing. The rules have been tossed out the window, you don’t have any gatekeepers (not necessarily a good thing), and you reap whatever profits you make (always a good thing). Everything is AWESOME…or so the movie says. Which is why I don’t understand why some indie authors attack traditionally published authors and their publishing houses (Yes, I’m aware that it was just the opposite a few years ago. Some traditionally published authors did verbally attack the indies. That doesn’t make it right.). This is not a THEM vs. US game. It NEVER has been. Perhaps it’s to someone’s advantage for us to believe so, but it’s simply not true. Thinking it is frankly shows your immaturity and lack of experience. I certainly don’t want the publishing houses to fail. That would be VERY bad for indie authors. Anyone who thinks otherwise is wrong.
I chose to go Indie a few years ago because I was at a crossroads and didn’t know what I wanted to write. I’m glad that I did, but I did not choose indie to ‘stick it to N.Y.’ That kind of thinking is childish and bad for my business. That’s right, the first decision to go indie may have been made out of confusion, but the rest are business based. Now I know part of this division is due to what occurred between Amazon and N.Y., but not all of it. I think the bulk comes from fear. Fear that we’ve made a wrong decision–no matter what side we come down on in the debate. It’s time to let go of the fear and get back to standing together. Everything else is a waste of energy.
Speaking of getting back to it, I have a book to chart out and write. Carry on.
I was thinking back the other day about the books that got me reading certain genres. I’m sure all readers have these books shelved in the back of their minds. I decided to share my list, since I am doing a Goodreads reading challenge this year. So in no particular order, here are the books that got me reading these various genres. (And yes, I realize I’m missing several genres. I just haven’t found the books to introduce me to the other genres yet.) What books got you reading a particular genre? Do you still re-read them or have you moved on?
Historical Romance (I’m starting here because it’s the easiest.)
Ghost Fox (Not a romance at all, but I thought it was.) by James Houston
Prisoner of My Desire by Johanna Lindsey
The Hawk and the Dove by Virginia Henley (She’s written some of my favorite historicals.)
Desired by Virginia Henley
A Rose in Winter by Kathleen Woodiwiss
The Flame and The Flower by Kathleen Woodiwiss
Devil’s Bride by Stephanie Laurens
Dark Prince by Christine Feehan
Secrets Volume 2 by Angela Knight et al.
Taming the Beast by Lora Leigh (Ellora’s Cave edition)
One Bite with a Stranger by Christine Warren (Ellora’s Cave edition)
Contemporary Romance (This for me is harder because I can’t remember specific books, but I remember the authors.
Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K. Hamilton
Something from the Nightside by Simon Green
Storm Front by Jim Butcher
Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice
Lightning by Dean Koontz
Edgar Allen Poe
It by Stephen King
Sci-fi/Fantasy (This will lean more toward fantasy because I prefer my Sci-fi to have some romance in it.)
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
Going Postal by Terry Pratchett
Pattern Recognition by William Gibson
Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
Sphere by Michael Crichton
Ice Station by Matthew Reilly
Amazonia by James Rollins
All these books have lead me toward so many writers. My favorites these days are Ilona Andrews, Jeaniene Frost, Cynthia Eden, Larissa Ione, Tessa Dare, Patricia Briggs, D.B. Reynolds, Karen Chance, and the list goes on and on and on.
2014 was a mixed bag year. We had a lot of friends and family get sick. Some recovered, some are on their way to recovery, and some aren’t going to get better. ☹ Anytime you have a year like that, you spend a lot of time reflecting on life and what you really want out of it.
It was nice to realize that this year I didn’t have anything major that I wanted to change for the New Year. But I have things I need to do more of. For example, I already exercise regularly (ie four to six days a week). I just need to do more of it for longer periods of time. Same with diet. I fast a couple of days a week. I’ve been doing this for over two years now. I’ve lost a chunk of weight because of it. Within the last two months, I found something that helps with the other days of the week. It’s teaching me proper portions and making me look at food differently. I need to continue by upping the days of week I do this from three to four. Between fasting a couple of days and proper portions (and nutrition), it will make me far healthier over time. I’ve also been meditating on and off. I need that to become a habit like exercise.
This year I started to cull my belongings. This includes files and unused software. I am not a hoarder by any stretch of the imagination, but I still have too much stuff. By the end of this year, I was beginning to feel buried by my belongings. That needs to change. The quickest way to do that is to go through my stuff and really ask if the items bring me joy or give me a sense of joy. If they do not, then they are thanked and donated. I’ve managed to get through my clothes and shoes. At present, I’m still wading through my office.
I am disappointed by the number of books I read this year. Normally I get sixty to seventy read in a year. This year I only managed to finish forty-six. I’m really going to try to do better next year, since reading makes me happy.
On the writing front, I had a decent amount of releases this year, but not nearly enough new work written. In Jan., the paperback version of Dead World 2: Scarlet came out. In Feb., Love’s First Bite anthology released. In May, Moonlight Kin 3: Nic was released. In July, Dead World 3: Crimson was released, along with the paperback versions of Moonlight Kin 1: A Wolf’s Tale and Moonlight Kin 2: Aidan’s Mate. Hawk’s Slave came out in September, along with the paperback version of Phantom Warriors 7: The Dark King. Moonlight Kin 4: Tristan and the Sensational Six anthology came out in November, along with a young adult novel under a different name. In December, I reworked an old novel and turned it into a two-parter under a different name.
At first glance, thirteen seems like a lot, but when you look closely you’ll see that much of what I’ve done this year is edit or re-edit a lot of work. I didn’t do a lot of writing. I did more than what was published (i.e. I started several other projects that aren’t done yet.), but overall I didn’t write much new material. I cannot afford to have this occur again in 2015.
My writing schedule for 2015 is pretty ambitious. I am focusing on 1000 words a day, six days a week. It’s just enough to be challenging some days and not so much as to burn me out. I’ve already announced this news in my Endless Summers’ Newsletter, but one of the things I’ll be working on next year is a spin-off from the Phantom Warriors called Phantom Warriors: Pit Fighters. These stories will be grittier than the regular Phantoms and might hold more suspense. There will be at least three of these novellas released next year. I’ve posted two of the covers below to give you a sneak peek of what’s to come. I’ll also be writing the final novel in the Moonlight Kin series, Moonlight Kin 5: Lucien. In addition to these titles, I’m also writing young adult under another name. I’ll be writing and releasing four titles for that, which will bring my goal for next year to a whopping eight releases. I have a lot more books planned on both fronts. I just have to get better at managing my time and writing schedule.
Other new things in the pipeline will be having my website completely re-designed. It’s been the same for years, so it’s definitely time. I hope you all have a very Happy New Year and may 2015 treat you kindly.
I know I’ve been very quiet. I’ve been trying to get my ducks in order. Trying to get your ducks in order is harder than trying to herd cats. (You heard it here first.) I’m reading this lovely book called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. It’s quite a Zen way of looking at tidying. You’re not just cleaning. You are changing your life by changing the space around you. I am really enjoying it, though it does frighten me. (I have a very difficult time letting go of certain things.) I’m also reading Your First 1000 Copies by Tim Grahl (because I am sucktastic at marketing) and Beauty and the Blacksmith by Tessa Dare (because she rocks). How’s that for variety?! *ggg
Anyway, back to tidying. The key is to go through everything you own and ask yourself ‘Does this item bring me joy’, starting with your clothes and slowly work your way through your entire house. It’s tough, but I think it’ll be worth it once I get the ball rolling. Watch out shoes! You’re next. Evil laugh.